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Webshop and subscription changes/closures May 30th- June 8th
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 12:10 PM - 3 years, 7 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Important changes to upcoming webshop and subscriptions affecting shipments May 30th-Jun 8th, please read & place orders early! Due to the bank holiday on Mon May 30th, this webshop day will roast/ship Tues May 31st instead. June subscriptions will go out a couple of days earlier than normal, either May 31st or June 1st. Due to the upcoming WBC in Bogota, webshop will be CLOSED Thurs Jun 2nd and Mon Jun 6th, then resume as normal Thurs Jun 9th. We apologize for any inconvenience, and wish our John Gordon best of luck at the WBC!

Rwanda Cup of Excellence
Sunday, May 01, 2011 - 09:01 PM - 3 years, 7 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Rwanda Cup of Excellence
In August last year I had the pleasure of serving as a juror in the 2nd Rwanda Cup of Excellence, to help select the best Rwandan coffees out of the 154 submitted lots that the National jury had already evaluated. It’s been a long time but I wanted to wait with this trip report till any coffee we bought was actually here, and now it is, so here we go. After nearly missing my connection through Nairobi I arrived in Kigali to no bags, but thankfully local Technoserve rep and fellow juror Matt Daks knew how to work the Rwandan lost luggage system and got my bags sent in on the afternoon flight. While waiting for that, I tagged along to a cupping at the Rwanda Trading Company, hoping to find some gems to take home even if I lost out in the COE auction. It was a nice warm up to the week of cupping ahead, it’d been a while since I’d had a great Rwandan table and in spite of the infamous potato defect I have fond memories of the Nyamagabe we used in the WBC 2008. Rwandan coffees in my head were all like that; soft, light and sweet, with some floral notes and a delicate acidity, so I was hoping to have that profile broadened a bit. Cupping at RTC Mickey and Mallory at Matt's House After meeting up with my lost luggage and the rest of the judges, we boarded a bus to Rwamagana where we would be staying for the week, each day making a roundtrip to the cupping lab in Kayonza. The beautiful rolling hills of Rwanda covered in lush greenery, the brick red soil and the trucks carrying loads of vibrant yellow bananas had everyone bring out their cameras snapping away from the bus windows, and I suddenly felt very much like a tourist. However a placement on a COE jury is anything but a leisurely week away from the office, so after a restless night of being kept awake by the mosquitoes buzzing around on the other side of the netting, the first day of coffees saw us straight into calibration. Cupping lab Tables at the ready Lunch tent Jurors spend their first day cupping test tables of varying qualities to discuss flavours and align scores as much as possible, a great way of warming up and get an overview of what the week will bring. Potato reared its ugly head almost immediately, and I was hoping it’d be the first and last time we encountered it as it’s an immediate grounds for disqualification. During lunch I had a nice chat with Tharcisse and Eliane from Burundi who were observing the competition in preparation for the COE expanding into their country in the next couple of years. I know very little about Burundian coffees so I’m very excited to see how that goes! That evening we had a cocktail party back at the hotel where the Mayor of Rwamagana, the head of OCIR and my old colleague Grant, now Managing Director for the COE, gave a few speeches that reminded us of the importance of what we were there to do, the notion that behind every cup is a community, families and high stakes should they be cut out of the running or make it to auction. One of the things you can never forget judging these competitions is to be humble and do your very best to score fairly and appropriately. It’s an honour to be there to give a final verdict on the coffees that have already been scrutinized by the National Jury, and we had 45 of the finest coffees in Rwanda to evaluate in the next few days. Addy, Marilyn, Matt, Andreas and me The morning alarm clock proved unnecessary as monkeys clambering across the rooftops, cockerels greeting the sun and calls to prayer had me awake, if not widely so, at dawn. This first day of Round 1 presented three tables of eight coffees. Two of the coffees were cut for potato, but a couple of them scored up towards the 90 mark for me and I was pleased about the range of flavours I’d got to see. Apart from being a bit starstruck to be cupping with people like Jason, Tom, Yuko, Addy and Sunalini, I felt able to focus and score sensibly in spite of the heat. The backroom team who do a mountain of work roasting, weighing and grinding were doing a stellar job, and water was being poured with military precision from kettles so big I probably wouldn’t have been able to lift them! National cuppers and crew The roasters Pouring the water Addy, Marilyn, Susie, Emmertha, Laeticia, Sunalini, Jen, me and Yuko. Grant and Jon As exciting as cupping is it’s also exhausting, so we decided to take a quick trip to the Jambo Beach bar & restaurant that evening, and courtesy of Jason we managed to squeeze in a quick game of frizbee before dark. Tom snapping an image you might have seen in the Dogs of Coffee calendar I hoped jetlag and exercise would provide me with some good rest before the monkeys kicked off in morning and it must have worked as I woke up rested and early enough for there to still be some hot water left in the shower! A cup of African tea with boiled milk and ginger was just the ticket to set me up for cupping the remaining lots of Round One. There were no outright potatoes on the table on day 2, but fewer outstanding coffees as well, so through to Round 2 (and potentially auction) went 25 coffees out of the initial 45. After the cupping was over we journeyed to the Rwacof Washing station in the Akagera region of the Eastern Province. Playing bus-tag with the national jurors the trip took us into stunning countryside, people popping up along the road everywhere and kids smiling and waiving to us as we passed. One of the things that struck me about Rwanda was how clean and tidy everything was, even in busy Kigali. People seemed to take a real pride in their surroundings, and besides their genius ban on plastic bags in the country there is also a mandatory 4 hour clean-up session every 4th Saturday, where even the president takes to the streets to spruce up anything in need of a tidy! Brilliant. Try instating that in the UK! The Rwacof mill overlooks Lake Mugesera and is run by the Rwanda Milled Coffee Cooperative, with 600 farmers averaging 100-1000kg each bringing their cherries there to be processed. Nearly all coffee in Rwanda is of old Bourbon varietal stock from Reunion, the average farm having about 150 trees. Out of season the mill was quiet but still beautiful, and it’s one of those places I’d have loved to see in full operation during harvest time. Coffee in Rwanda has gone through a huge development in the last 10 years, from having only 2 washing stations in the country in 2003/4 they now have 168, and there are some concerns that that is now too many. Lake Mugesera from Rwacof Mill Rwacof drying tables Washing tanks Day 3 and Round 2 of cupping had us review the 25 coffees that had scored 84+ in the two first days and were potentially making it through to auction. In the end we lost three coffees that day and only 22 were put through, the top 10 of which were to be cupped again and ranked in Round 3 on the following day. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off in Kayonza for a bit of sightseeing, being sightseen (?) as much by Kayonza ourselves as we saw of them! Kayonza main street Wheelbarrow For those in a hurry Kayonza bike repair Kayonza style Kids appeared everywhere Welding doors Taxi The evening had us return to Lake Jambo for dinner, more frizbee and some dancing, our last night in Rwamagana before returning to Kigali once the top 10 had been cupped in the morning. Bird in sunset at Lake Jambo The top 10 left me with two favourite coffees who eventually ranked 3rd and 4th overall in the auction. With Paul Songer as your head judge it’s always going to be ‘fun with statistics’-time one it’s all over and done with, and it was interesting to learn how how we all cupped compared to eachother and the average. As usual for me I cupped with a fairly wide range, not being afraid to score low or high as I saw fit. I think a good jury will have a mix of people who score wide and narrow, both experienced and newer cuppers, and cuppers from world wide markets. Turns out I cupped very similar to Addy from Iceland, Jen from Australia and John from the US, which I can’t be anything other than pleased with! The bus trip back to Kigali was a blur of red dust, but at the hotel a quick dip in the pool had me feeling refreshed enough to indulge in a bit of market retail therapy with Marilyn, picking up some touristy local crafts (in among those imported from Tanzania and Kenya!). It actually felt a bit like being in London, you go to one stall in Spitalfields and they’re selling the exact same things as three stalls elsewhere in the market, and the stall down on Brick Lane, and the stall at Broadway! Nevertheless I’m a sucker for brightly coloured woven baskets (although not as much as Marilyn is! :p) At the official OCIR dinner that evening we were treated to some fantastic music and dancing from a local troupe, speeches from Alex Kanyankole the Director General of OCIR, and Agnes Kalibata the Minister of Agriculture. She had visited us in Kayonza on one of the cupping days and was grateful and impressed with how focused and dedicated our work was, to the point that she barely dared say hello in case she interrrupted us. She also spoke of how the 100 million Rwandan Francs that the 2008 COE brought in had been used to improve the situation for the farmers, providing them with livestock, better infrastructure and social developments. There was a real pride coming through from the organizers in how they were the only country in Africa to be represented in the COE, and that the country as a whole were able to use coffee as one of the driving forces to progress away from a difficult history and improve the path ahead for their young population. In fact, out of the 16 national cuppers that initially screened the submitted lots, 7 performed well enough to be considered for a place in the International jury, which has never happened before. They were all young and driven and and I was pleased to see that the majority of them were girls too! In the end, Emmertha and Laeticia were the two selected to cup with us, but the others were all part of the backroom crew running the show during the cupping days, and Agnes encouraged the industry at large to really make use of the fact that their national cuppers are among the best in the world. As the award ceremony took place and we had the prizes from 22nd to 1st place handed out, the room full of people had an excited energy about it that I’ve never felt in previous COE’s. As the day came to a close I got to shake hands with the Prime Minister of Rwanda (!), and I couldn’t wait to see how the auction was going to pan out for these coffees that I’d got to know over the past few days. We’ve now finally taken delivery of our 8 boxes of MIG/Buremera, from the Maraba sector of Huye in the South Province. They wet process the Bourbon cherries and dry the parchment on tables in full sun at 1800 masl, and we shared the 37 box lot with friends from Poland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland! It will launch in the webshop soon and be around for a limited time only.

New Coffee: Capão by Glacimario Santos
Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 11:17 AM - 3 years, 8 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
New Coffee: Capão by Glacimario Santos
Leading with a light brown sugar sweetness, this pulped natural selection follows with milk chocolate, cashews and nougat. Approachable and softly textured, this coffee is reminiscent of cocoa and milk. Glacimario Santos owns and manages Fazenda Capao, having studied agriculture, and subsequently taken over the farm from his father. Over the last 20 years the coffee growing area has expanded to 3 hectares of the total 25 hectares that comprise the farm. Despite the similar name, this is a different farm to the one we bought from last year. Sat about 1280masl near the city of Piatã in the region of Bahia called Chapada Diamantina, the farm has perfect conditions for growing coffee. The mix of clay and sand in the soil is monitored and analyzed annually to ensure the Catucai seedlings will have optimal nutrients to establish and yield to their best potential. Once in fruit, the trees are selectively picked and the cherries are pulped each day going straight onto patios to dry. The farm’s total production is currently around 70 bags, and this year more than half of them have made their way into our warehouse. We hope you enjoy!

Rosettas for Japan- fundraiser throwdown!
Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 11:41 AM - 3 years, 8 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Rosettas for Japan- fundraiser throwdown!
Our friends at Notes Music & Coffee are hosting a fundraiser to raise money in support of the victims of the Japan earthquake. We hope to see lots of you there, Sunday April 10th, 6pm!

New Coffee: Colonia San Juan – 8 Estrellas, Bolivia
Friday, March 18, 2011 - 01:09 PM - 3 years, 9 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
New Coffee: Colonia San Juan – 8 Estrellas, Bolivia
Colonia San Juan – 8 Estrellas, Bolivia Red & Yellow Caturra, Fully Washed (£9.00/350g) In this Red and Yellow Caturra lot, expect notes of brazil nut, toffee and chocolate brownie, complemented by hints of juicy fresh pear and baked apple, all underpinned by a dense, custard-like, melted icecream mouthfeel. For the third consecutive year, we’re very pleased to offer this coffee from Colonia San Juan 8 Estrellas – Juan Ticona’s family farm, outside Canton Entre Rios, in the Caranavi region of Bolivia. Senor Ticona has been producing coffee at this farm since the early 1970’s, and employs 10 people during the six-month long picking season. Every tree is passed over several times, to ensure that only the ripest of cherries are being hand-picked each time. Colonia San Juan is just 10 hectares in size, with 5 of those hectares being dedicated to a natural forest reserve, with a small stream running through the farm providing fresh water. As a result, a wide variety of animals can be found on the farm, most especially tapirs and parrots who love to eat the fresh coffee cherries. After picking, these Yellow and Red Caturra variety cherries are delivered in baskets to the wet milling facility of the Buena Vista mill in Caranavi. Once in parchment, the coffee is moved to the dry mill in La Paz and prepared for export. It arrives here in London in a giant ziploc bag, inside a jute bag ensuring the coffee is well protected the entire journey. For more information, and to order, visit the web shop here: http://shop.squaremilecoffee.com/products/colonia-san-juan-8-estrellas

New Coffee: Villa Loyola, Colombia
Friday, March 18, 2011 - 12:52 PM - 3 years, 9 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
New Coffee: Villa Loyola, Colombia
Villa Loyola, Colombia 100% Caturra, Fully Washed (£7.50/350g) This 100% Caturra lot from Gerardo Arango’s 2008 Cup of Excellence Colombia winning farm, Villa Loyola, brings an abundance of dense fruit sweetness in the guise of raisins, prunes and figs, while a subtle but integral apple-like acidity really brings the cup to life. A well-structured base layer of molasses means the coffee finishes well and lingers pleasantly. Around 10 hecatres of this 18.5 hectare farm is dedicated to 40% shade-grown coffee production – this lot being exclusively Caturra variety. The farm itself was a gift from Manuel Delgado to the Compania de Jesus church over 100 years ago – Gerardo Arango being the Priest Director of the church – who remain the farm’s owners to this day. Over the last 20 years, a greater attention to coffee growing has seen quality improve dramatically. With Eduardo Valencia as administrator of the farm, a combination of an elevated focus on technological advancement, as well as seeking help and advice from the Committee of Coffee Growers of Narino, Villa Loyola placed first in the 2008 Cup of Excellence Colombia competition. Improvements to the salaries and living conditions of Villa Loyola’s permanent and temporary workforce continue, and children are not permitted to work on the farm, having to attend the local school, instead. Around 7 hectares of the farm has been dedicated to growing ‘guadua’ – a large, thorny bamboo – by the Environmental Control Center of Narino, to be used as a construction tool in coffee farms in the region. For more information, and to order, visit the web shop here: http://shop.squaremilecoffee.com/products/villa-loyola .

New Coffee: Blackburn Estate – Clouds of August
Thursday, February 03, 2011 - 12:15 PM - 3 years, 10 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
New Coffee: Blackburn Estate – Clouds of August
Blackburn Estate – Clouds of August 2010 Microlot, Tanzania Kent & Bourbon Varieties, Fully Washed (£9.00/350g) Last year we were delighted to offer a wonderfully vibrant and juicy microlot from the Blackburn Estate in Tanzania, called Shades of September. This year, we’re exceedingly happy to be able to offer another microlot from the same farm – this one being called Clouds of August. This Blackburn Estate microlot from producer Michael Gehrken brings notes of clove, cashews and toffee in the cup, tied together by a silky raisin, Medjool date and molasses sweetness. Rounded out by a hint of Middle Eastern spices and baker’s chocolate, this coffee is simple, sweet and delicious. Clouds of August was picked from August 3 – 13, 2010 by around 65 of Michael’s 138 staff, who were supervised by experienced pickers Christian Burra and Amsi Demay. Trained to pick only the ripest cherries, the pickers collected a total of 2,228 ‘tins’ of coffee, weighing 54kg each, over the 11 days. With their own wet mill on site, the day’s cherries were pulped each afternoon, then fermented for 14 hours before grading and washing in spring water from Mount Oldeani. The harvested cherries were then carried to raised African drying beds, and sun dried to 11.5% humidity, before being conditioned in bins, and finally transported to Moshi for dry milling Production roasts of this coffee begin Monday, February 7th, and will roast every subsequent Monday and Thursday from then. For more information, and to order, visit the web shop here: Blackburn Estate – Clouds of August .

New Coffee: Toarco Jaya, Sulawesi
Friday, January 28, 2011 - 01:34 PM - 3 years, 10 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
New Coffee: Toarco Jaya, Sulawesi
Toarco Jaya, Sulawesi Jember S-795, S-33 Washed Peaberry (£7.50 / 350g) We’re very pleased to welcome this most recent addition to our range. An unusual coffee given it’s provenance, this Toarco Jaya peaberry selection contradicts a great many of the stereotypes surrounding Indonesian coffee. While outstanding in its own right, this coffee took us somewhat by surprise, and it’s on very high rotation in the Square Mile morning brewing rota. Wonderfully clean and complex, in the cup this Sulawesi peaberry has the dense, sweet, citrus quality of Sicilian blood orange, while on the nose expect fresh-baked butter croissants and just a hint of milk chocolate. Combine this with the Toarco Jaya’s marshmallow mouthfeel, and the resulting cup is layered, balanced and complete. This coffee constitutes something of a rarity, in that it’s a fully washed coffee from Sulawesi, where the more traditional wet hulling process is nearly ubiquitous. With this coffee, we see the results of a partnership between a Japanese coffee company and local investors to establish a wet mill in Sulawesi, resulting in coffees with greater complexity and more clarity of flavour than is usually seen from Indonesia. Coupled with this processing, this coffee benefits from being grown at significant altitude. While the Toarco Jaya wet mill is at around 1000masl, a great amount of the contributing smallholder farmers have their farms between 1250 and 1750masl, making them some of the highest growing coffee trees in Sulawesi. Toarco Jaya also provides on-going education and training to their smallholder farmers, assisting them in maintaining their trees through good farming practice, and helping train their pickers to select the ripest cherries from the tree. We think that the combination of altitude, education, and exemplary growing and processing practices really strips away the negative characteristics people have come to associate with coffees from Indonesia. More information. (pdf) Available now in the web shop: http://shop.squaremilecoffee.com/products/toarco-jaya

Christmas Webshop & Opening Hours
Monday, December 20, 2010 - 01:22 PM - 4 years ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Christmas time! We’re excited because things get so busy, plus we get to grab a few days off in amongst the madness. The webshop will roast and ship on the following days: Monday December 20th – OPEN – WEBSHOP AS USUAL Thursday December 23rd – OPEN – WEBSHOP AS USUAL Please note that while Royal Mail are delivering on the 24th, only Special Delivery orders are guaranteed to be delivered before Christmas. Monday December 27th – CLOSED – NO WEBSHOP Thursday December 30th – CLOSED – NO WEBSHOP Monday 3rd January – CLOSED – NO WEBSHOP (Public Holiday) Tuesday 4th January – OPEN – We will be roasting and shipping what would have been processed the day before. Thursday 6th January – OPEN – Webshop resumes normal scheduled service. We’ll try to keep on top of any enquiries between Christmas and New Year so if you have any questions just drop us a line at webshop@squaremilecoffee.com Have a great Christmas! We’ve some very exciting coffees coming up in the New Year that we’re really looking forward to sharing with you!

Congratulations to Indie Coffee
Monday, October 18, 2010 - 12:27 PM - 4 years, 2 months ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - James and Anette's Square Mile Weblog
Congratulations to Indie Coffee
We’ve been a bit slow to post this but congratulations to Peter Duggan of Indie Coffee for winning the British Street Food Award for best hot drink. Indie Coffee are located outside on Church Street, near Edgeware Road and has quietly being serving oustanding coffee , and getting nothing but great reviews . He also has one of the best carts in London – a repurposed Indonesia Jewellery cart! If you’re in the neighbourhood we’d strongly recommend stopping by – open Tuesday to Saturday.

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